Archive for November, 2009

Using Google Wave for eParticipation?

30. November 2009 – 11:04 by Bengt Feil

Over the course of the last few weeks there was a lot of noise about Google Wave and its potential to transform everything from newspapers to novel writing. The Wave approach, which consists of both a tool and a underlying protocol, has be discussed as being the solution that will unite online communication and therefore revolutionize the web at the same time as it has been described as being complicated and not very useful.

I wrote an overview about the tool and the Wave protocol earlier on this blog and promised to take a look at its possible implications for eParticipation. Luckily Tim Bonnemann started a discussion on how to use Google Wave for eParticipation using the tool itself as soon at it was available. If you have a Wave account you can be view it here. In this article I will try to give the major points which have been made in that discussion. All the ideas presented in this text have been developed collaboratively by the 59 people have signed into this Wave until now. Thanks to all the contributors and especially Tim for starting the Wave!

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Online climate change debates – can they influence the outcome of COP15?

27. November 2009 – 18:13 by Zebralog / Hans Hagedorn

cop15_logo_d_s On December 7th and 8th the COP15 will take place: Politicians, IGOs and NGOs will meet in the Danish capital and discuss how to reduce carbon emissions to decrease global warming. They aim to sign a new agreement for climate protection, a follow up of the Kyoto protocol. In forefront of the Copenhagen event, online debates try to influence the discussions’ outcome.

The Kyoto protocol will expire in 2012. Until then, a new global agreement on climate change is needed. But the outcome of COP15 - the Copenhagen Climate Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change - is still unclear; experts suppose that COP15 will end with a political agreement signed by world leaders instead of with a binding treaty. Especially that the US Senate delayed a decision about a climate change legislation bill lowered the expectations for the Copenhagen meeting.

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eParticipation News digest November 14st - 26th 2009

26. November 2009 – 17:13 by Birgit Hohberg

In the last two weeks several important conferences and awards in the field of eparticipation and eGovernment took place some Pep-Net members already wrote about. Therefore, the following list should offer just a brief overview:

Strasbourg plenary session: Green light for new EU telecoms rules
Last Tuesday the European Parliament has approved a major overhaul of EU telecoms rules in order to strengthen the rights of phone users and internet surfers and boost competition among telecoms firms. The new rules which will be implemented within the next eighteen months are aiming to enhance consumer rights, safeguard internet freedom, protect data, boost competition and modernise radio spectrum use.  More information:

European eGovernment Awards Winners 2009
In the course of the 5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference on 19 November 2009 in Malmö the five winners of the 4th European eGovernment Awards were announced. The following projects were awarded for their innovative contribution to increasing the efficiency of public services by help of digital technologies:

  • Category 1. eGovernment supporting the Single Market: EU-OPA, the European Order for Payment Application (Austria and Germany)
  • Category 2a. eGovernment empowering citizens: Genvej (Denmark)
  • Category 2b. eGovernment empowering businesses: MEPA, the Public Administration eMarketplace (Italy)
  • Category 3. eGovernment enabling administrative efficiency and effectiveness: Licensing of Hunters via the “Multibanco” ATM Network (Portugal)
  • Public prize: SMS Information System (Turkey)

For more information:

The Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment
At the same Ministerial eGovernment Conference jointly organised by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the EU a declaration was signed by the EU ministers. It outlines a joint forward-looking vision and defines policy priorities to be achieved by 2015. The key objectives to be reached in the next five years are:

  • to empower businesses and citizens through eGovernment services designed around users’ needs, better access to information and their active involvement in the policy making process;
  • to facilitate mobility in the single market by seamless eGovernment services for setting up business, for studying, working, residing and retiring in Europe;
  • to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of government services by reducing the administrative burden, improving organisational processes of administrations and using ICT to improve energy efficiency in public administrations which will result in a greater contribution to a sustainable low-carbon economy.

Please find the full document here:

2009 Progress Report on the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan - Summary report
Last week the 2009 Progress Report on the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan was published. This study is a qualitative progress evaluation of the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan 2006-2010 comprising a qualitative analysis of progress towards achieving the goals of the Action Plan and evaluating its stimulus effect across the Member States. Download (PDF, ~ 1 MB)

EDem10, 4th International Conference on eDemocracy 2010 - Call for Papers
The call for papers started for the EDem10 - 4th International Conference on eDemocracy 2010 - held by the Danube-University in Krems from 6. to 7. May 2010. The EDem10 will focus on different fields and societal effects of eDemocracy projects, ranging from Transparency & Communication, Participation & Collaboration, Architecture, Concepts & Effects to Approaches and Disciplines and Research Methods. Deadline of paper submission is 15.01.2010. More information:

Winners of the European Public Sector Award (EPSA) 2009
The European Public Sector Award 2009 was presented by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) early November in Maastricht. The EPSA aims at bringing together the best, most innovative and efficient performers from the European public sector and publishing these valuable experiences. Among 300 applications the following projects were selected with a multi-step evaluation process of an European expert jury: e-Bourgogne (France), The Cologne Participatory Budget (Germany), Oldham Local Strategic Partnership (United Kingdom), the Management in the San Cugat City Hall project (Spain). In addition, two projects received honourable mention, namely the Gdynia Civic Sector project (Poland) and the Present in School, Absent in Jail project (Romania).
More information:

PEP-NET Workshop at Future-Democracy ‘09, 25 November London

26. November 2009 – 14:51 by Centre for E-Government

Participants were provided with a range of topics to choose from: the business models for e-Participation projects, e-Voting, how to reach young citizens, the World Forum eDemocracy Awards 2010. The participants voted for a discussion about financing projects and business models.

Guilermo Celata was asked to start the discussion on the basis of this project The project began with an investment in terms of hours of work, and has not been able to receive funding from institutions such as the Italian Camera and Senato. In Italy public or institutional funding is not always an advantage, this kind of funding may work better for projects developed in other countries.

In order to finance the project data was sold (although none that included users’ contributions). At this stage, the project involves 4 core editors and approximately 10 external professionals (for coding, marketing…). The data is interesting for private enterprises, but it took 3 years before there was a return on investment. The technology used in this project is tailored to the Italian particularities, it is not universally applicable.

The issue of applicability in other countries was echoed by Jeremy Millard’s question as to whether it is too early to talk about “good practice” or are the cases, projects, ideas and countries too different? The cases and projects are often culturally bound, and therefore have to provide inspiration for other countries.

In Tuscany, participation is mandatory by law (passed 2007) and one million Euros have been made to ensure the debating process. Each discussion must last 6 months, and on the basis of the results obtained, a decision is then taken. The participation process here is both on- and offline.

The discussion led to a number of further questions which could not be fully discussed during the workshop session, it was suggested to post them on the PEP-NET Blog:

Which topics should be chosen for the participation process?
Who decides what young people should discuss?
And who decides whether one issue or point of view (e.g. in the discussion tourism vs. environmental issues) is more important?

Any answers to those questions?

The Centre for E-Goverenment’s full resumée available on Digital Government 2.0 Blog

140 people have contributed to

25. November 2009 – 11:37 by Eric Legale

World e-Democracy Forum Award 2009, help the european citizens to access to a detailed mapping of some 300 political parties. Through multiple-choice questions, an algorithm evaluates the sensitivity and determine the political affiliation of Internet users. It has been used during the last European Parliament elections in June, with around 2.5 million unique visitors who used it.

At the e-Democracy awards workshop, professors Alexander Trechsel and Fabian Breuer explained their motivations.

A presentation to see in video: [To watch the video]

PDF Europe: Geeks, Politics and the loom of digital ideologies

24. November 2009 – 18:23 by Rolf Luehrs

The beautiful city of Barcelona was a well chosen location for a conference taking place in November and it awaited us with unsurprisingly mild temperatures. Even warmer was the welcome at the pre-conference reception for the speakers. “In all beginnings dwells a magic force” (Hesse) which I caught a glimpse of when we mutually introduced ourselves by choosing three words to characterise our involvement in the cross-section of internet and politics.

Hence, my personal expectations towards the personal democracy forum were quite high when I entered the Torre Agbar tower the next day. The first thing I spotted was that the main hall was completely full – round about 300 people were waiting for Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry to kick of the event with some opening remarks followed by a keynote from Charles Leadbeater.


Leadbeater then talked (keynote audio) about the emergence of cloud culture, a term which has been derived from cloud computing. Using the metaphor of clouds for culture points to the fact that cultural contents are produced in a more and more collaborative and fluid way. Further to this cultural artefacts become to a large extend available digitally with the consequence that more people than ever have access to them via the Internet. “Many eyes make culture rich in the way the more an archive is opened up to many points of views and eyes the more value will be seen in it”, Leadbeater stated. Together with all the available “tools of creativity” which allow to add more value to existing content sort of “cultural mushroom clouds” happened to appear.
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eParticipation Conference: Current State of Play & Future Directions

24. November 2009 – 16:59 by POLITECH

Have you ever wondered what the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament (EP) do to diminish the democratic deficit in the EU and to involve the citizens into decision-making processes of the European Union? You can now see for yourself and participate in one of the most important events of 2009.

The projects co-funded by the EC under the eParticipation Preparatory Action are organising an eParticipation Conference, which will be held in Brussels on Tuesday, 15th of December 2009 at the European Parliament (Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Brussels, Belgium, Room A.3E2) .


The development and wide use of powerful new ICT applications is transforming the way citizens and civil society interact, debate and participate in public life. These new tools have enormous potential to enhance decision-making processes by involving large numbers of EU citizens.

As the eParticipation Preparatory Action, an initiative of the European Parliament launched in 2006, reaches its conclusion, this eParticipation Conference is being organized to demonstrate progress and results in the use of Information and Communication Technologies to enhance citizens’ participation in democratic decision-making. In parallel, there will be an exhibition of project results produced in the context of the Preparatory Action. This is a unique one-time opportunity to see all the projects in one place and to engage into a conversation with projects’ leaders and representatives.

Register to the conference before 10 December 2009 at: (registration password: momentum)

Note: The Conference is free, but only registered delegates will be allowed entry for security reasons. All the participants should have some type of identification documents (for EU nationals - passports or national ID; for people from outside of the EU - valid passport documents are necessary).

For further information, please visit: or contact:

Putting the e in European Union – The 2009 Ministerial eGovernment Conference

24. November 2009 – 14:25 by Bengt Feil

ima65545turning-torsowebFrom November 17th to 20th city of Malmö hosted the gathering of the eGovernment and eDemocracy tribe. Three events related to the use of the internet and information technologies in administration and politics happened in just one week: The ministerial eGovernment conference, the pre-conference dealing with scientific issues in this field and the popular eGovernment unConference. Csaba already discussed the popular unConference in an earlier article. Therefore I would like to share some impressions I had of the ministerial conference and try to pin down what the essence of the event was.

The ministerial declaration

The central outcome of the ministerial meeting was of course the Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment which was presented at the conference by Minster Mats Odell on Thursday. The declaration incorporates three major themes (for an in-depth critical analysis please read this excellent article by Andrea DiMaio):

  1. Empowerment and transparency through eGovernment services and the use of ICT
  2. Improved mobility in the Single Market by seamless eGovernment services
  3. Efficiency and effectiveness is enabled by a constant effort to use eGovernment

From the angle of the Pan European eParticipation Network the first point seems to be the most interesting one. It is good to see that the European Ministers responsible for this area commit to the use of ICT to improve democratic processes and not only administrative efficiency. This view was shared by the audience of the conference as well: In the final session the moderator (Richard Wilson) ask the delegates which of the three goals they think is the most important one and there was an overwhelming majority voting for empowerment and transparency over the other two goals.

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The First Popular Egovernment unConference’s participatory aspects

24. November 2009 – 11:48 by Civil College

Most of us has at least some opinion around the Ministerial Declaration, which has been adopted before the high level e-government conference of the Swedish presidency: Teaming Up for the EUnion
There is some doubt, wheter this declaration is  making  change or not. As analyst Andrea Di Maio writes about it :

“If government 2.0 is about discontinuity, enabling bi-directional flows and engaging new stakeholders, the EU declaration has failed on every account.”

Personally - the Hungarian Government’s Electronic Center for Public Administration has not even translated the full text, only published an excerpt , without mentioning Open, Accessible, or Transparency, some criterias of good governance, mentioned in the declaration.

Moving beyond

In  my previous article, I have been writing about the participatory based, citizen centric event, which ran paralell to the 5th conference. Surprisingly, some of the guests of this unconference has been also participated in the “main” and the research focus “pre”conference, making the cultural flow rich between researchers, practicioners and businesses.

The openness of this conference has let Mats Odell, the minister for financial markets and local governance to hold a pecha-kucha styled presentation about the declaration - which has gained far more acceptance in this form, than in the official one, although

About 25-30 people - he has come to visit us there.  It might be the elections, it might be Magnus Kolsjö’s advice, or some personal drive, or even the way, how Sweden is showing approach to open government. Who knows? But the Minister has missed something, by not staying with us, only for half an hour..

The Pretinent Art award - which has been launced before the unconference - winner has become a project of the Open Rights Group: Statebook.


Runners up included the Woberator from Holland, which breaks Ministries’ resistance to FoI requests by spamming them, and, the Italian mashup which maps tax evaders.

Sir Bonar has addressed unconference participants in a video message, which helped to focus on various aspects of diplomacy: see video here-

Beside the fact,that the unconference has been an event, run by citizens with the kind support of the local community place, Garaget, has showed some possible new trend of citizens. It was not yet about the first European Hackathon, or eDemocracy Camp, nor about the HackEu event series. But I am quite sure, that this is the direction, where Europe has to follow it’s forerunner examples, Australia, USA and the UK.

In my presentation held at the preconference, I was trying to show not only some good examples of citizen drived development  collaboration (with the state) but to highlight the socio-technological innovation behind it.

Photos of the unconference can be accessed here:

by the way, the well knowwn P2P foundation’s head, Michael Bauwens has made a great presentation on “Open Everything” in for the TEDx Brussels event at the European Parliament:

Impact of Social Computing

23. November 2009 – 15:21 by Centre for E-Government

Two recently launched studies are dealing with the impact of social computing applications on government services, economics and society.

The JRC-IPTS (Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Institute for Prospective Technological Services) aims to provide customer-driven support to the EU policy-making process by developing science-based responses to policy challenges. The Centre has launched two reports which can be fully downloaded from their website.

Public Services 2.0

The study “Public Services 2.0: The Impact of Social Computing on Public Services” is focusing on the rise of the social web and trends in public services. Emphasis is on the impact of social computing on key areas like policy, organissation and law. Future opportunities and risks are also addressed. It provides an exhaustive literature review of research and practice in the area of Social Computing and identifies its key impact areas in the public sector.

Enhancing social capital through social networks

The report “The Impact of Social Computing on the EU Information Society and Economy” provides a systematic empirical assessment of the creation, use and adoption of specific social computing applications and its impact on industry, personal identity, learning, social inclusion, healthcare and public health, and government services and public governance. The study sums up questions like “What is Social Computing?” and provides ideas on enhancing users’ social capital by enabling the multiplication of interactions between offline and online societies. The use of social networks can also contribute to the development of the cultural capital of disadvantaged people and broaden the access to digital content.

Studies on the broad impact of social computing in the public sector are scarce. Apart from examinations of specific computing applications in a public sector, most studies do not examine the generic social computing trend and its effect. The authors also claim that there is a broader theoretical background needed. Further research on digital evolutions should address these gaps.